Editorial (December 20, 2017) – The 2017 MLS off-season has been anything but “off.” So many acquisitions, trades, signings, draws, announcements, and so on and so forth. FC Dallas roster moves have come to life. For an side looking to regain prominence in Major League Soccer, a lot needs to be done. The past two weeks have come and gone in a flash. Here’s a recap of what has transpired so far, along with rumors and other team news.
FC Dallas Roster Moves – Separations, Signings, and the CCL
Before the Expansion Draft and Free Agency occurred, FC Dallas made a huge move. Local legend Walker Zimmerman, FC Dallas’ first pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, was traded to expansion side LAFC. It came as a huge shock to most fans, considering the lack of defensive depth Dallas had all season. Zimmerman will be joining veteran Laurent Ciman to bolster the back line for LAFC. Zimmerman will look to make a strong impact after a lackluster 2017 season. In turn, Dallas receives $250,000 in both General Allocation Money (GAM) and Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), and the No. 1 spot in the MLS Allocation Ranking.
After Dallas let Zimmerman go, they were quick to re-sign veteran defender Maynor Figueroa. The Honduran international signed a one-year contract and will certainly be a stronghold with Matt Hedges in the back. At 34, Figueroa is on the tail end of his soccer career, but has certainly played his part for the Dallas side.
Probably one of the biggest shocks so far this off-season involved goalkeeping. FC Dallas free agent, and long time keeper, Chris Seitz was signed by the Houston Dynamo. He will make the four hour trek south on I-45 to Houston, where he will look to start for a resurgent Houston side. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with many Dallas fans. But Seitz was not seeing much playing time behind the young and rising star Jesse Gonzalez. He will look to get back to a starting position with Houston in 2018.
Familiar Faces, Different Places
As Dallas fans were trying to cope with the Seitz departure, the technical staff already had their replacement in mind. Jimmy Maurer, who was the keeper for the world-famous New York Cosmos, was signed on Monday. Maurer was actually signed to a one-week contract in 2017 by FC Dallas back in July while Jesse Gonzalez was away with the US Men’s National team. He mentioned that even in that short time, he felt right at home with the Dallas side.
Most Dallas fans were awaiting the CONCACAF Champions League draw Monday when the Maurer signing occurred. The biggest club tournament of North and Central America and the Caribbean, the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League looks as strong as ever. Dallas looks to forget the horrendous meltdown from last year’s semifinal against Pachuca. In Monday night’s draw for the round of 16, Dallas drew Tauro FC, a somewhat familiar foe in the competition. Dallas last faced the Panamanian side in the 2011-12 edition of the Champions League. Playing each other twice in the group stage that year, Dallas drew at home, but later lost the match in Panama. That loss in Panama knocked the MLS side out of the tournament that year. Dallas will look to avenge that loss, as they will visit the Panamanian side for the first leg in late February.
FC Dallas’ Mauro Diaz took a trip to Europe, catching a few games and visiting friends. One stop in particular saw Diaz catching up with his brother-in-law Ramiro Funes Mori, a defender currently with English side Everton. Despite having to go through surgery this summer, Funes Mori has had a solid career covering several continents. Not much hope was put in this one, but it was a fun rumor while it lasted (for about 24 hours).
Dallas will continue to work on shoring up its defensive line, and sneak in a few signings. Technical Director Fernando Clavijo was quoted Monday night at the Champions League drawing saying Dallas can expect four or five signings before the season starts. Considering Dallas’ history of signings, they’ll be looking for speedy South American wingers to cause chaos.